Both are think tanks Institute for the Study of War (ISW) Several international media outlets reported this week about possible Russian plans to launch a new major offensive against Kyiv in the winter months.
– I have no doubt that they will make another attempt to reach Kyiv, says the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, General Valery Zalogny, in an interview with The Economist.
Similar statements were made by Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov Watchman. He points to the autumn mobilization of the Russian people, when he claims that a new major Russian offensive could take place in February.
– This is their plan, he says.
Expert: A constant threat
The analysis from the ISW and the Ukrainian authorities is largely supported by the chief intelligence instructor at the Norwegian Defense Academy, Tom Roseth, and retired General Arne Bord-Dalhough.
– Politically, in Moscow there is an ambition to take Kyiv. This was proven in the initial phase of the war, and this ambition still exists. In this sense, this is a constant threat, Rosth tells Dagbladet.
“They clearly have plans for that,” Dalhoge agrees.
But none of them see the Russians as having the military capacity, in the short term, to mount a major attack on the Ukrainian capital:
The newly mobilized Russian soldiers still did not make up a well-trained army. They also suffer from a severe shortage of officers and equipment.
It is one thing to have large forces, but they must also be trained, equipped, and made capable of serving in the operations department. It takes time, Dalhoge says.
He asserts that in order to pressurize such an attack, you also need heavy and advanced equipment.
– So far, we have no indication that the Russians are creating departments with this.
– It probably won’t come until spring
ISW analysts believe that Vladimir Putin’s likely motive for a new major offensive is to force better bargaining chips – especially after Ukraine’s successful counterattacks in Kherson and Kharkiv.
They describe it as “extremely unlikely” that such an attack would succeed.
The intelligence teacher notes that the threat to reopen the front in the north could itself be a Russian negotiating strategy.
– But I can’t see the ability. You can’t conjure up experienced military units that work well with other units and weapons, Rosth says.
At the same time, he believes it is important not to underestimate mobilization.
– and this leads to spinning and relief for more experienced people who have been at the front for a long time. Obviously, it strengthens the Russians, but the effect that makes it possible to launch a new major Russian offensive is likely to come only in the spring.
– It will reduce the risk
The ISW believes that a possible major Russian offensive could come from Belarusian regions, but without the involvement of the Belarusian army.
Rosth believed their participation would become unpopular among the Belarusian population, which would mean the end of President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime.
He points out that activity is high in Belarus, however can have an effect on the Russians; Ukrainian forces could be required to relieve pressure in the south and east.
– I also would not rule out that they would attack in order to reach a negotiated solution, but at least Moscow is not there now, and I doubt whether they will be there in a couple of months, says Rosth.
Since the failed attack on Kyiv at the start of the overall invasion, Russia has had a clear focus on the eastern Donbass region.
– If there are movements there again, which I think the Ukrainians hope for, the Russians will have to use their resources there. Dalhough says a development in the Donbass in Ukraine’s favor would reduce the risk of a major Russian offensive this winter and early spring.
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